How to Address an Official-Elect

How to Address an Official-elect?

—-How do I address the vice-president elect?
—-How do I refer to a governor-elect in the U.S.A.?
—-How do I identify a newly-elected judge who hasn’t taken the oath of office?

—-Summary: Among elected U.S. officials they are the Honorable once elected in a general election, but must wait for the honorific of their office – if the office comes with a special honorific – until they take the oath of office.

—-The rule is that in the U.S.A., once elected – one is immediately addressed in writing or in a full introduction as ‘the Honorable’ (Full Name):

————The Honorable (Full Name)

—-The reason? One is entitled to be addressed as ‘the Honorable’ once one has been elected in a general election.

—-But in the salutation or in conversation use …

————Dear Mr./Ms./Dr./etc. (Surname):

—-… or whatever honorific to which he or she is entitled – prior to the election.  So, a current official continues to be addressed in a salutation or conversation by the office they hold, not the office to which they are about to be sworn.

—-Use of Mr. Vice President, Governor (Name), Judge (Name), or (whatever special honorific comes with the new job) is reserved until he or she has taken their oath.

—-One would identify him or her as the vice-president-elect, governor-elect, judge-elect, or (fill in the blank)-elect … but these are not actually titles, offices, or positions. These are adjectives which describe his or her status and are used as an identification – they are not forms of address.

—-—-—-– Robert Hickey


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

Is a Mayor-Elect ‘Your Honor’?

Our mayor-elect is coming to our building today. If I have the occasion to address him personally, should I call him ‘Your Honor’ even though he will not take office for two months? Or is he still ‘Mr. (Surname)’?
——————-– Laurie in Chicago

Dear Laurie:

Address him/her as ‘Mr./Ms. (Surname)’ … or with whatever honorific to which he or she used prior to the election.

He will be addressed with the forms of address due a Mayor when he takes the oath and is sworn in. He is already ‘the Honorable (Full Name)’ on a letter because he has been elected office but won’t be addressed as ‘Your Honor’ or ‘Mayor (Surname)’ until he takes office.

– Robert Hickey

Related Posts:
—-Candidate for Office
—-The Honorable, Use of
—-The Late, Use of
—-Pro Tempore


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”